Hello! I know it’s been a while, but seeing as how we just kicked off the second round of the Presidential Innovation Fellowship, I thought I’d take the opportunity to post a quick update on Project MyUSA. Things have been going quite well, and we’ve got some amazing stuff in the works over the next few months.
First, let’s address the name change. We are now Project MyUSA! From the earliest days of the project, we discussed what the ideal name for the project should be, but we wanted to focus our energy on coming up with great ideas, and so we put it aside. Towards the very end of the first round of Project MyGov, we revisited the subject and, after much consideration, decided to rechristen the project as MyUSA. We think MyUSA more effectively captures what we’re trying to accomplish and how we’d like to present ourselves to the public. We hope you like it!
Let’s recap where things are; in the first round, we (Phil, Ben, Danny, Kara and I) were given a challenge: how could we make a citizen’s experience when interacting with government better? To answer that question, we took a hard look at the current state of things, identified what we felt were the key issues, and set about to come up with solutions.
The problems we identified were:
- It’s hard to navigate government to find the information, tools and services relevant to your needs;
- Interacting with the government is done through multiple channels with no consistent user experience, and no way to control or manage how government access your information;
- Engaging the government to do something for you, typically by filling out and submitting a form, is still an antiquated and cumbersome process.
The solutions we built to help solve them were:
- MyUSA Discovery: a toolbar that can be added to any government website to help connect visitors to resources across federal, state and local government websites, so they can quickly find what they are looking for;
- MyUSA Account and MyUSA API: a single account that citizens can use to sign into any government website, giving them control of how government interacts with them and their information. The MyUSA API captures common ways in which government interacts with citizens and makes those available as web services for agencies to use in building citizen-centric web applications.
- MyUSA Forms: a tool to enable agencies to create and publish forms online, and make every form an API.
The solutions we built, which are all open source on Github, were essentially prototypes; the next step is to take those prototypes, get them production-ready, and start testing them in the real world. Which brings us to today.
We’ve just brought on a new group of outstanding fellows, and our main goal is to take those solutions and scale them out so that America can begin to use them. Once the tools are in production, we can begin to collect feedback and improve what we’re offering based on what makes sense for users.
To do that, we’ve put together two teams, all part of the greater MyUSA initiative. The core MyUSA team will be focused on improving and scaling out the existing solutions, while the BusinessUSA team will be focused on building a killer example of what kinds of applications and interactions are possible with MyUSA’s tools and services.
We’ll post more in the coming days and weeks with details of what we’re rolling out. In the meantime, let’s introduce the team.
First off, I’m very happy that I was asked to lead Project MyUSA after my fellowship ended in January. This project is very near and dear to my heart and I’m determined to see it succeed.
Our new fellows are:
- John Felleman (BusinessUSA)
- Justin Grevich (MyUSA)
- Hillary Hartley (MyUSA)
- Claire Holroyd (BusinessUSA)
- John Kemp (MyUSA)
- Alison Rowland (BusinessUSA)
- Amos Stone (BusinessUSA)
- Raphael Villas (MyUSA)
More information about the fellows (scroll down to MyUSA)
In addition, we’re very happy to have the support of the USA.gov team at GSA and BusinessUSA at the SBA. We’ll be working very closely with them over the coming months to benefit from their skills and experience.
And with that, let Round 2 of Project MyUSA begin! Please be in touch if you have any thoughts, ideas or questions, and keep your eye out for more regular updates soon!